All the big names project the Panthers drafting a DT in the first round. But why? The Panthers ranked in 14th in rush defense and 13th in pass defense. Thats after getting leaps and bounds better when Kuechly moved inside to MLB. By the end of the year, defense was a strength and should only get better this year. A lot of the mock drafts also have the Panthers selecting the Sheldon Richardson who is a 3-Tech not a run stuffer. Dwan was 2nd in the NFC in sacks by a DT, so that is not a need. What the Panthers need is a big hole plug. Plus they have Colin Cole who they say looks healthy and ready to play. What the Panthers need most is a WR, OL help, and secondary help.
With that said here is my dream mock draft:
1st Round: Tavon Austin- guy has unreal skills, will help Cam in passing and rushing attack. Perfect replacement down the road for Smitty but still fits a need now. Should give Panthers 3 consecutive ROY. Austin in the rushing game also makes either Williams or Stewart expendable which could be used to trade for a needed 3rd pick. Also clears up a ton of cap.
2nd Round: Here is the toughest pick for me. It comes down to either protecting your franchise QB or getting some much needed secondary help in the pass heavy NFC South. The O Line should see a boost with another year and off season for Silatolu and Kalil coming back from injury so I'm choosing secondary. My guess is Elam is gone by then so Im choosing Baccari Rambo. Guy is a beast and should provide some immediate help. If we go with OL then go with Larry Warford.
4th: Montori Hughes: Small school/Big talent. Big DT we need, would be a second rounder if not for some off the field issues. Could be the steal of the draft for the Panthers
5th: This pick depends on what the Panthers do in the 2nd round. If we chose secondary then draft an OL and vice versa. So my picks are either Reid Fragel or Zeke Motta
6th: Dustin Hopkins: can finally straighten out that horrendous FG unit. One of the most accurate kickers in college history the FSU product will finally make me have some confidence in our special teams. Something I havent felt since Kasay left